Monday, November 07, 2005

B-b-blog? Huh?

Wired or unwired. Techno-fan or Luddite. Sometimes, it feels as though there are only two kinds of people in my Contact section (no nod to Iain M. Banks here): those who are new-media savvy and those that…ain’t.

I was asked again this past weekend, “What’s a blog?” Simplistically, a blog is an online journal. Go here to see how simple it is to start one. Use your blog in a wide variety of ways: make it personal; make it professional; make it provocative.

Say you’re an agent provocateur. Reporters Without Borders – one of the more ardent blog proponents – says, “Blogs get people excited. Or else they disturb and worry them. Some people distrust them. Others see them as the vanguard of a new information revolution. Because they allow and encourage ordinary people to speak up, they’re tremendous tools of freedom of expression.” You can download the handbook pictured above here. It’s a good one (and thanks again to Susan Kirkland).

Blogs in this sense are the current equivalent of fax machines…the insidious technology that helped destroy the Soviet Union, the easy way to distribute samizdat throughout the entire Eastern bloc. (Combined with things like Radio Free Europe, fax machines let the light in.) Why else does China seek to restrict the use of the Internet among its population. By the same token, political groups here in the US use blogs as commentaries to support their points of view and distribute them widely. This is the blogosphere; the Wall Street Journal calls it the “Internet fever swamp.”

There are kinder, gentler blogs. Funny blogs. Touching blogs. Everyday, ordinary-life blogs. Read more about blogs just by Googling the word. Review a couple of dozen and see if the form is right for you.

Meantime, Signalwriter will just keep plugging away - and hopes that you’ll keep on reading.

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